Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Day in the Life with Goodie Mob

A couple of weeks ago, I got a phone call to "come help Goodie Mob in the studio with some Ableton help." That's not really a phone call you can say no to, so I jumped right in.

The objective was to get all the tracks live-ready and locked into a click track. Since Goodie was playing a variety of tracks from their (and solo) catalogues, no two tracks would have been produced the same way. Some tracks were based on vinyl samples, some were recorded analog, etc. Goodie has a live drummer (which makes a huge difference in live shows, I wish more electronic acts had live drums) so all tracks had to be aligned to a click.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I went over to their studio and the entire afternoon (with the game muted on the studio TV towards the end of it), we "warped" all the tracks, 8 bars at a time. I fell asleep that night with the "Ableton click track" song stuck in my head.  Some programming by yours truly was done here and there as well, you'll have to go to the show to hear it. 

Goodie Mob live is all 4 original members: T-Mo Goodie, Khujo Goodie, Big Gipp, and Cee-Lo.

Their backing band is Mark Mays on Drums and Aaron Clay on Bass and Korg MS-2000 (still a beefy little synth) with DJ Princess Cut on Serato and Ableton (two separate machines, wouldn't it be nice to Bridge them together one day).

Ableton, Serato, Bass, Drums. What else do you need?



Ableton and the APC40 (and our hard drive)

The Band

"P-Cut," Cee-Lo and "Some Guy"

We arranged the tracks in scenes, so the setlists can be dynamic and changeable. This also opens up room for improvisation and ad-libs.

Our Live use didn't stop with just the backing and click tracks.  On the day of the Atlanta show (2/20, rescheduled due to the snow on 2/12), we started up at 9:00AM getting the stage ready and synching the APC40 machine to the video machine.  

A familiar look on the LED screen.

My showday workspace, synching to the Mac Mini, two copies of Live running.

On the video machine, the songs' corresponding videos were loaded up in Arrangement view with a Marker as the launch. Master quantization on the video machine was set to "None" and each Marker had a specific MIDI note assigned to it (C1, C#1, etc).

On the APC machine, there was a blank MIDI track with each tracks' MIDI note in a clip, launched with the scene. (Pro-Tip: leave Loop OFF when triggering video unless you want your video to start over every bar ;)

So by using Ableton and it's built in Scenes, we had control over the Songs, the appropriate BPM/click and the corresponding video to it. 

The calm before the storm.

Soundcheck in twilight, quite a cool vibe inside the Tabernacle.

Finally: Showtime. Here was my view on stage.

The Mob is currently on the West Coast rapping up their Reunion tour, here are the remaining dates:
Sunday in San Francisco @ Ruby Skye - Get Tickets 
March 10th in Washington DC @ 9:30 Club - Tour Info here

Exclusive rehearsal video and some "spoiler" pics and videos after the jump.

Many many thanks to Maceo, DaVinci, Mark, Dan Z, and the rest of the Goodies for this amazing opportunity.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

3rd Annual City Skies Electronic Music Festival, April 29-May 1, 2010

The 3rd Annual City Skies Electronic Music Festival will be held in the Atlanta area on April 29-May 1, 2010.

Kavarna in the Oakhurst section of Decatur, GA (minutes away from Atlanta) is once again the venue for the Festival Event. Kavarna gives us a perfect vibe for the performances, with great sound and a nice selection of food and beverage for festival attendees. Kavarna is a non-smoking and all-ages venue.

The list of performers include some of the best electronic musicians from around the U.S. heard on radio stations like Music From the Hearts of Space, Echoes, Star's End, Soma FM, StillStream, Galactic Travels, and more, and are from Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Musical styles range from ambient to downtempo chillout to Berlin school to IDM to space music to experimental. This is not a DJ event.

For more information, ticketing, and performer bios and event schedule:

Real electronic music performed live by humans!

Performers and schedule for the three-day event are:

Thursday, April 29, 2010
8pm- The Wiitles (Georgia)
10pm- Paul Vnuk Jr (Wisconsin)
11pm- citizenGreen (Georgia)

Friday, April 30, 2010 
6pm- Slate (Indiana)
7pm- Klimchak (Georgia)
8pm- Xeriod Entity (Pennsylvania)
9pm- Emerald Adrift (Kansas)
10pm- Tony Gerber (Tennessee)
11pm- R_Garcia (Georgia) 

Saturday, May 1, 2010 
Afternoon session
1pm- dRachEmUsiK (Indiana)
2pm- Burning Artist(s) Sale (Georgia)
3pm- Earthgirl (Indiana)
4pm- 84001 (Tennessee)

Evening session
7pm- Mark Mahoney (Tennessee)
8pm- M. Peck (Tennessee)
9pm- Richard Lainhart (New York)
10pm- Richard Devine (Georgia)
11pm- Duet for Theremin & Lap Steel (Georgia)

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to performers for this event.

Tickets for each session are $5.00 and will be available at the door.

Venue location -

Thanks Jim Combs for the info!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Atlanta Ableton User Group - Tuesday 2.09.10

Ableton's long-awaited collaboration with Serato, called The Bridge is coming soon:

This allows two way communication between Live and Serato in a new and innovative way. The best part about it is that it's free for owners of both Live 8 and Serato Live.

Ableton's Huston Singletary and Goldsweat & Atlanta Dubstep's own Billy Laing aka Captain Crunk will be on hand next month for a special Tuesday night meeting! We hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, February 9th. at 7:00PM

SAE Atlanta:
215 Peachtree Street (above the Hard Rock)
Suite 300, 3rd floor (enter at call box on Andrew Young side)
Atlanta, GA 30303

Check out more information on Billy here:

In other news:

Submit your own tips and tricks/tracks/show info to and we'll feature them on our new blog (link below)!

Also, our partners at AKAI have announced the APC20, a slimmed down version of its big brother the APC40:

Own Max For Live? Here is a great open resource for uploading and downloading patches: 
We encourage you to add your own.

Finally, Ableton Power User Jon Margulies is posting a tip each day this year, all 365 of them:

We've seriously updated our internet presence with the following links:
Our new Blog:
Subscribe to the feed here:
Follow us on Twitter here:
Become a fan on Facebook:
Add us on MySpace:
Our blog feeds to the Facebook and Twitter, which feeds to our Myspace, which feeds to our Twitter... you get the idea. They're all "Bridged" together.

That's about it for now, see you next week!
Johnny & The Ableton Users Group